Categories: multicat households

Multi-Cat Household Fighting (is not uncommon)

The PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) a charity and a chain of animal hospitals in the UK, have provided a useful report on various aspects of cat ownership in the UK.

Screenshot from PDSA report.

One of their statistics tells us that 58% of cats live as the only cat in a household while 42% of cats or 4.3 million cats live in a multi-cat home.

My first impression is that the percentage of multi-cat households is substantially higher than I had thought. What is slightly disturbing is that 2.1 million cats in multi-cat households or 20% of all cats don’t get along with another cat or cats that they live with. This is a high percentage and indicates that there is a lot of potential or real stress in many households amongst domestic cats in the UK.

Also, the PDSA say that there is evidence to suggest that cat owners are not providing enough resources for their cats. Thirty-four percent of cat owners do not have any cat beds and the same percentage of cat owners do not provide any scratching posts.

I can probably assume, therefore, that an even higher percentage of cat owners do not provide a place for a cat to hide in multi-cat households. I think you will find that it is common knowledge that some sort of hiding place is a prerequisite in households where there is more than one cat.

Is also common knowledge that the cat owner should provide ample resources in multi-cat households which means more than one feeding and watering station and litter box. This should be a seperate litter box for each cat and the same probably goes for water and food bowls. There should be plenty of scratching surfaces ideally both horizontal and vertical.

There should be suitable scaled cat condo by which I mean a large object with vertical resting places (perches) where cats can find their own place to rest and be in their own space.

The above suggestions are some of the fundamentals. I have written on the subject of multi-cat households a few times and I have linked to two of the pages below.

UK cat owners need to try a bit harder to ensure that when they look after more than one cat that they ensure their cats are as content as possible. I understand that it can be difficult and it is expensive. The expense possibly puts people off. Which leads me to the last statistic that I’m going to report on this page.

Despite the fact that the PDSA report that the minimum lifetime cost of caring for a cat is £12,000, 15% of cat owners estimated that their cat would cost less than £500 over their entire lifetime; a serious underestimate.

There is a clear disconnect between reality and expectations in respect of the cost of keeping a cat in the UK. This must be a major reason why sometimes the quality of domestic cat caretaking is substandard.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • My 6 cats 4 of whom are deaf ferals, 1 is almost 18 years and 1 was badly abused as a kitten, then adopted by one person, who found he was a handful and gave him to a friend whose only other cat beat the holy hell out of him. It has taken time and patience, but they get along as long as I am home. I don't accept fights-only play wrestling. I have 7 water stations, 6 litters (I make my own and they are large), and separate rooms for meals. When I'm not home, those that get along have the run of most of the house, The others are in their own rooms. Each room has water and litter boxes, several beds and a cat tree. I can't tell how many different toys are in each room. I tell everyone that my home is NOT people friendly-it's cat friendly and if the have any objections, please stay away. My children think I'm a bit nuts (that's ok), but I say at least my cats are honest in their opinions of things.

  • In my humble opinion humans spend too much time humanizing why cats fight instead of getting to the real issues. Most mulitcat households understand the litter box ratio but fail to accommodate the need for more perches, high places, window settings, feeding stations, bigger beds, growing more arms to pet them getting a bigger lap, duplicates of the same toy because it's a favorite.

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